How an electric shock occurs…
Current travels through conductors within a closed circuit. The conductors could be made of copper such as in a cable, other metals, water or in the worst case the conductor can become the human body.
An electric shock occurs when a person becomes part of a circuit, with current entering the body at one point and leaving it at another.
The two methods of receiving an electric shock are…
Coming into contact with a normally live part (i.e. touching the live terminals within a consumer unit) or by touching a non-live part that has become live due to a fault in an electrical installation such as the case of a washing machine that has become live due to an earth fault
How serious the shock you receive depends on your physical condition, and general health.
The amount of current present – it’s the current that causes the problem and not the voltage.
And the path the current flows through your body and the length of time exposed to the current present.
So, remember, Voltage hurts but Current can kill
Non-lethal electric shocks occur when…
More than 3 milliamps (0.003A): You’ll receive a painful shock
More than 10 milliamps (0.01A): You’d feel muscle contraction
More than 20 milliamps (0.02A): This would really hurt and is considered severe electric shock
More than 30 milliamps (0.03A): You’d receive lung paralysis – usually temporary
Lethal electric shocks are…
More than 50 milliamps (which is only 0.05A): Possible ventricular fibrillation ‘heart flutter’ which is usually fatal
100 milliamps (0.1A) to 4 amps: Certain ventricular fibrillation and definitely fatal
Over 4 amps: Heart paralysis / severe burns and very fatal – electric chair!
If you see someone receiving an electric shock
Isolate the person from the electrical source. Turn off the electricity if possible, or move the person using a non-conducting material such as wood.
Never touch the person receiving an electric shock or you too could receive one.
Other first aid will quite likely be needed